Ramtek – The Ramayana Footprint In Vidarbha

Ramtek close to Nagpur within the Vidarbha area of Maharashtra is rooted in historical past from a number of eras.

Ramayana and Ramtek

It will get its title from Sri Ram of Ayodhya, who took a Tek or a Vow right here to rid the earth of Asuras. It may additionally imply the place the place he rested for some time throughout his southward journey. Earlier this hill was referred to as Tapogiri, which accurately means the hill of Tapas or the place the place a whole lot of sages carry out Tapas.

Agastya Muni Ashram

You could assume why solely this place? Effectively, that is the place Agastya Muni had an ashram and Sri Ram visited him throughout his 14-year exile. We all know from Ramayana that in his journey by way of the forests of India, he killed many asuras. This relieved many sages and saints who used to have their ashrams within the deep forests.

Entrance of Gadh Mandir

Dandakaranya of which Ramtek is part was a dense forest. Asuras dwelling right here wouldn’t let the sages dwell in peace. So, when Sri Ram visited Agastya Muni, he vowed to eliminate these Asuras who have been killing many rishis. He additionally performs the final rites or tarpana of the rishis killed by Asuras by inviting all of the Tirthas of India to Ambakunda Bhogawati which is now often called Ambala Talav.

Lopamudra, the spouse of Agastya Muni was the daughter of the king of Vidarbha which lies simply east of Ramtek.

Agastya Muni requested Sri Ram, Sita, and Lakshman to remain on the Tapogiri hill within the type of Jyoti or mild. A flame that may nonetheless be seen within the Agastya Muni Ashram is believed to be their kind that has been burning since Treta Yuga.

Second Go to of Sri Ram

Sri Ram returned to Ramtek after he grew to become the king of Ayodhya. The story goes that in Ram Rajya, no youthful particular person died earlier than his elders. Nonetheless, in the future a person got here to his court docket carrying the lifeless physique of his son. The rationale was Shambuka who was doing Tapasya near Ramtek. Sri Ram traveled once more to Ramtek to launch Shambuka.

As a boon, Shambuka requested him to remain in his royal avatar on the hill together with Sita ji and Lakshman. He obliged. Throughout this journey, Hanuman ji additionally accompanied him and held his Bow whereas he tackled Shambuka solely together with his arrow. So, here’s a temple with Hanuman holding the bow, in all probability the one place the place he does so.

Temples at Ramtek Hill

Ramtek temple is popularly often called Gadh Mandir or the fort temple. It’s certainly constructed like a fort on prime of a hill, from the place you’ll be able to see throughout. As you go up you move by way of gates that resemble the fort gates. Was it replicating Ayodhya right here – possibly!

Historical past of Ramtek

Traditionally, I’m informed the place had solely Ram Padukas to mark the footprints of Sri Ram and Agastya Ashram. The Yadava rulers constructed the temple throughout 12-14th CE. The current temple was constructed by Raghu ji Bhosle of Nagpur within the 18th CE. The story goes that Raghuji Bhosle had vowed to construct a temple right here after profitable the battle of Deogarh.

Gokul Dwar Ceiling at Gadh Mandir Ramtek
Gokul Dwar Ceiling at Gadh Mandir

He had the Murtis of three deities made in Jaipur. Nonetheless, he had a dream that the Murtis are mendacity within the Soor river. They did certainly discover historical Murtis there and the identical was put in within the temple. Those that got here from Jaipur are nonetheless part of temple belongings.

Raghuji Bhosle additionally received the fortification finished across the temple. It was the time when invasions of temples have been frequent, so no marvel fortification was wanted.

Constructed-in stone, it follows the native Hemadpanti type, with a tall Shikhara and pillared mandapa.

Gadh Mandir

The primary temple complicated on the prime of the hill has many massive and small temples.

Agastya Muni Ashram and Dhuni at Ramtek
Agastya Muni Ashram

You enter by way of the profusely carved Gokuldwar with an enormous bell and ornate stone pillars. You first see the Agastya Ashram. The story of the place is written on a white wall in crimson letters.

Gadh Mandir or Sri Ram Mandir
Gadh Mandir or Sri Ram Mandir

Inside this ashram, a very powerful half is the Akhand Jyoti, or the everlasting flame that’s believed be to burning because the time Sri Ram visited Ramtek. A Radha Krishna temple can also be right here, I consider constructed a lot later.

Lakshman Temple at Ramtek
Lakshman Temple

Then, you see the temple devoted to Lakshman. He’s normally seen along with Sri Ram and Sita, however right here his temple stands in entrance of their temple, nearly as if he’s nonetheless guarding them in Dandakaranya.

Pavillion at Ramtek

Behind his temple is the primary temple devoted to Sita Ram. It’s a small however stunning temple with a round mandapa resulting in the Garbhagriha.

In entrance, there’s a Hanuman temple and a smaller Garuda temple.

After Pushkar, it’s the second place the place I discovered an Ekadashi Mata Mandir.

Trivikram Temple

That is an historical temple positioned near the parking of the hill. It’s important to hike a bit by way of an unpaved path to succeed in this temple. It’s simply an open-air pavilion with a staircase resulting in it.

Ancient Trivikrama Temple at Ramtek
Historic Trivikrama Temple

An historical Murti of Vishnu as Trivikram stands on an open platform. It’s damaged in lots of locations however you’ll be able to nonetheless make out that the precise leg of the determine is raised. At first look, it seems like a determine in Terracotta. Nonetheless, it’s the red-colored sandstone discovered domestically and I noticed it at many temples in and round Nagpur.

These temples are dated again to the early 5th CE making them a few of the oldest temples in India.

Sindoor Bavadi

This can be a large stepwell positioned proper the place you park your automobiles. There’s a pillared pavilion on one facet of the Sindoor Bavadi. It in all probability will get its title from the Sindoori or rust-red shade of the stone discovered right here. I used to be additionally informed that one of many names of the hill can also be Sindoorgiri.

Ugra Narsimha Temple

Giant Narsimha Murti at Ugra Narsimha Temple
Big Narsimha Murti at Ugra Narsimha Temple

It’s one other small temple in crimson sandstone, with stone pillars inside. It has a giant-sized Ugra Narsimha Murti nearly filling the Garbhgriha. There’s a small mandapa within the entrance.

There could have been different deities on both facet of this Murti however there is no such thing as a technique to know

Keval Narasimha Temple

This can be a small temple complicated with stunning carvings on the outer partitions. Doorjamb on the entrance has the completely different avatars of Vishnu carved. The temple is on a better platform with a Narasimha Murti that’s nearly two meters excessive. The mandapa in entrance has 4 stone-carved pillars.

5th CE Keval Narsimha Temple
fifth CE Keval Narsimha Temple

Near this temple is a Naga temple within the open air with an enormous Trishul subsequent to it.

One other small temple, which might usually be a vahana temple, has an identical Murti of Narasimha that’s coated in Sindoor, making individuals consider that it’s a Hanuman Murti.

Varaha Temple

Midway in your technique to the Gadh Mandir, you discover a small temple on giant open premises. On the platform with 4 pillars is a big Murti of Varaha.

Varaha Temple at Ramtek Hill
Varaha Temple

Common perception is that solely virtuous individuals can move beneath the stomach of the Varaha.

Festivals at GadhMandir Ramtek

Ram Navami is clearly an enormous pageant at this temple.

One other necessary pageant occurs on the Kartik Chaturdashi, a day earlier than Kartik Purnima when Kartik Utsav is occurring right here. On at the present time Tulsi is obtainable to Shiva and Bilva leaves are supplied to Sri Ram, in a singular alternate that brings out the oneness between them.

Kalidasa and Ramtek

Kalidasa – the poet within the court docket of Vikramaditya of Ujjain was despatched right here as his daughter of was married in Vidarbha. On this hill, he wrote his well-known doot kavya or the messenger poetry referred to as Meghdoota. The poem mentions the hill in its very first verse.

Kalidasa Samarak
Kalidasa Samarak to commemorate Meghdoot

A newly constructed Kalidasa Samarak or memorial commemorates Kalidasa and Meghdoota. Constructed-in the form of Om, it has a corridor with work depicting the well-known works of Kalidasa. There’s an open-air theatre. The partitions round it are painted with scenes from the Poem Meghdoota. The outer partitions have all of the verses of Meghdoota engraved on them.

It might have been an awesome tribute to the poet if solely the place was maintained and alive. It is among the filthiest locations I’ve seen with grass rising and rubbish in all places. What’s the level in celebrating a poet in stone if his works can’t be seen both in a bookshop or a drama or a function movie? Hope Maharashtra Tourism takes be aware and works on making it a dwelling house.

There are sufficient vacationers coming to Ramtek, and a great ambiance, restaurant, or studying actions would add to their expertise.

Kapoor Bavadi

Karpoor or Kapoor Bavadi is positioned on the base of the hill. It’s an historical stepwell positioned subsequent to a temple. The temple is crumbling and guests hardly appear to care. I noticed individuals climbing on the Shikhara with their footwear.

Karpoor Bawadi
Karpoor Bawadi on the foothill

I couldn’t go to the temple because the water stage within the stepwell was too excessive. Bawadi was filled with lotus flowers. Water Chestnut farming is frequent in ponds right here. That is finished together with lotus flowers which are used to supply at varied temples.

One particular person informed me the temple is devoted to Shiva referred to as Karpureshwar, whereas the opposite stated it’s devoted to Saptamatrikas. I’d not be shocked if all of them are current right here as I can clearly see three distinct temple Shikharas indicating at the least 3 temples.

There could have been extra smaller temples within the three-sided hall working across the stepwell. Within the damaged components of Amalaka, which sits on prime of Shikhara, some Murtis are simply mendacity right here and there.

I hope ASI steps in to preserve this temple as it might entice many extra vacationers and pilgrims. It’s a pretty stepwell.

Historic Shantinath Jain Temple is positioned near Karpoor Bavadi, however I couldn’t go to it.

You possibly can go to Ramsagar Backwaters for some enjoyable journey actions like Kayaking.

Journey Ideas

Ramtek is about 50 kilometers from Nagpur, making it properly linked through Air, Rail, and Street.

You want at the least 2-3 hours to go to this place. Historical past fanatics can spend a day or two exploring many historical heritage websites right here.

You possibly can take 700-odd steps to climb the hill or take your automobile to the foothill. There are about 150 steps that you have to climb from the parking.

There are ample outlets to purchase meals, flowers, or souvenirs from the parking till the temple entrance.

Pictures is allowed outdoors the primary temple and is prohibited inside.

There are a lot of monkeys on the hill, so bear in mind if you’re carrying any meals objects.

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